Training the Next Generation of Local Fishermen

Photo courtesy ALFA/Alyssa Russell

What started as one commercial fisherman taking a handful of young people out fishing with him has evolved into a crewmember apprentice program with more than 12 participating boats and 50 apprenticeships over the past four years. Inspired by the need to address Alaska’s “graying of the fleet” – a threat facing commercial fisheries around the country – longtime Alaska salmon troller Eric Jordan on the F/V I Gotta took his first apprentice out in 2014 and was quickly overwhelmed by the demand.

Impressed by the interest, Eric teamed up with Sitka-based Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) to formalize the crewmember apprenticeship program and make it part of ALFA’s Young Fishermen’s Initiative. With the help of a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, ALFA was able to expand from two host skippers in 2017 to 12 in 2018, allowing the program to engage more young people and offer apprenticeships in new fisheries.

Read more on the Marine Fish Conservation Blog here


Elizabeth Herendeen is based out of Southeast Alaska, where she works with nonprofits such as the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and SalmonState to help protect and promote Alaska’s wild fisheries and fishing communities.

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